Fixing Blank, Empty or White WordPress Pages after Upgrade

In Fix It, General, Software by Michael Sheehan225 Comments

Just a few hours ago, WordPress 2.8 was release to the general public (for the self-hosted version). I was notified within my admin portal and, after I did a quick database backup and downloaded all of my blog’s files, I clicked on the upgrade button. After a few seconds, WordPress told me that everything was successful. I was pretty amazed at how quickly the entire process took. Note: this is NOT unique to just WordPress 2.8 but also other releases of WordPress!

NOTE: I can help you fix your WordPress (self-hosted) issues. Read the information at the end of this article for more details!

So, I went to my blog’s main page to ensure that everything was working, and this is what I saw:

empty_page

That’s right, absolutely NOTHING. Some people have referred to this as the “WordPress White Screen of Death“ or the “Blank Screen of Death“ or just “WSOD“. I went to the login page and it too, was not working. Ouch!

But after a few minutes of quickly troubleshooting (since I had been through this before), I corrected the issue. Here are some troubleshooting and fixes you might want to try if you encounter this issue. I hope that you find a solution within this list. If you do, please leave a comment and let me and other readers know! There are three things that you can try: plugins, wp-config and wp-settings. (There may be others but these are ones that have been proven to be culprits.)

Plugins – usually, after an upgrade, a plugin is the culprit. One way to quickly check to see if one of your plugins is problematic is to do the following:

  • Rename “plugins”folder TEMPORARILY to something else – I changed my plugins folder to “plugins_temp” and then tried the login page again and was able to see it, so, immediately I knew that I had an issue with one of my many plugins. Note that once you log into WordPress after renaming the plugin folder, WordPress will automatically disable ALL of your plugins as a safety precaution. The problem is, in order to do the next step, you need to remember which ones you had active. Be sure to change the name of your plugin folder back to its original name of “plugins”
  • Enable all your plugins at once – Once you are back in to the plugins section of the WordPress admin, and all of your plugins have been automatically disabled because of the step above, you can try this option by “bulk enabling” all of your plugins. WordPress should enable anything that doesn’t crash it and will disable any plugins that produce “fatal errors.” If any of your plugins are automatically disabled, they could be your culprit.
  • Enable plugins one at a time – Optionally, if you are having trouble with the “bulk enable” step above, you could try to enable each plugin one by one.

Once you identify the problematic plugin or plugins, see if they have been updated. If they have, delete the ones on your server and replace with the newer versions. Hopefully that will work. Otherwise, just leave the bad plugins de-activated until they are updated.

Empty Line in wp-config.php file – one thing that you should check is the wp-config.php file (obviously, make sure that it is in the WordPress directory, AND that it has the proper DB information). Scroll to the last part of your wp-config file and double check that there is no extra space after the closing “?>” tag. IF there is a trailing space before the actual end of the file, delete that space so that you are sure that your file truly ends with that tag.

Good:

// Get everything else
require_once(ABSPATH.'wp-settings.php');
?>
-END OF FILE-

Bad:

// Get everything else
require_once(ABSPATH.'wp-settings.php');
?>

-END OF FILE-

Tweak your wp-settings.php file – First, I don’t recommend really messing around with this file as it is pretty critical to the smooth operation of WordPress. However, I had noticed that when I migrated my blog over from a different hosting provider to a new one (in this case, BlueHost), that when I was activating some of my plugins, I was receiving the following error “Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted” and the plugin was not activating. The way that I corrected that issue was by editing the “WP_MEMORY_LIMIT” setting within the wp-settings.php file. The WordPress “out-of-the-box” settings for this is “32M”, which explains why the memory size was exhausted (by this point, I was pretty exhausted as well). Note, that this error may be different for different hosting providers and may manifest in other ways.

So what I did, and what fixed the blank screen issue for me in the past and with this latest WordPress upgrade, was to change the value of WP_MEMORY_LIMIT from 32M to 64M. After I did that, everything worked just great!

wp_settings_change

So, my fix took actually all of about 2 seconds, but several hours of research, testing and tweaking to get to that fix.

Update: 12/27/10 – As I have now fixed quite a few of these issues on a variety of WordPress blogs, I have found that the items mentioned above might NOT correct your issue. You may have a script that is infecting your PHP files (I can help remove those), or you may have an issue with a theme or plugin. Additionally it may be another issue. But I can definitely help out. Read the NOTE below for details.

Note: I have received many requests for help each time a new version of WordPress comes out. I have helped a few people out but please realize that this does take time away from me writing reviews and other articles. However, I want to help, so I have come up with the following solution: I will ask for a $35 “up front fee” for me to review your FTP account and WordPress environment. After I receive that initial fee, if I can fix it, I will let you know and you can decide if you want me to proceed with the fix (for an additional fee typically starting at an additional $25). Depending on the amount of work, the additional fee could be a bit more (I haven’t charged more than $200)…but I’m not here to gouge you, just to get your WordPress blog back up and running. I will also keep you in the loop of what I am doing so that in the future, you can do it on your own. If you want my help, please fill out my WordPress Issue Form and I will get back to you quickly. You will need to provide me with both your FTP login information and WordPress admin credentials (which you can change after I fix or review the issue). I have helped people recover from iFrame viruses to reinstalling WordPress, so far with complete success!

Anyway, those are 3 things that you can test: Plugins, wp-config and wp-settings. If you find a fix that is different, please be sure to let me know!

Did you find this solution useful? If so:

HTD Says: Be sure to follow Douglas Adams famous words of DON’T PANIC if you get the WordPress White Screen of Death. It is fixable!